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Is cyberbullying illegal in California?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Firm News

If you have kids, you may find parenting to be increasingly challenging nowadays. After all, not only must you instill good values, but you also likely must monitor your children’s online activities. If your kids use electronic devices to bully others, they may face criminal charges for cyberbullying.

Like in many other states cyber bullying is unlawful in California. Prosecutors may bring criminal charges for either posting personal information to cause fear or using electronic devices to harass others.

Posting personal information

In the Golden State, it is a misdemeanor offense to post personal information about someone for the purposes of causing fear or intimidation. If your children cause a person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a close relative, they may satisfy the elements of the offense.

Using electronic devices to harass

Online harassment is also illegal in California. Specifically, it is unlawful to use an electronic device to communicate obscene language to an unwilling recipient or to annoy someone. Like posting personal information, using electronic devices to engage in harassment is typically a misdemeanor.

Understanding the consequences

Upon conviction for a misdemeanor cyberbullying offense, a person may spend up to a year in jail and pay a stiff fine. If your children participate in cyberbullying, they may also face academic consequences from school officials. These may include suspension or even expulsion, likely depending on both the severity of the conduct and the school’s cyberbullying policy.

Talking to your kids about the danger of cyberbullying and monitoring their online activities are often effective ways to avoid criminal charges. Ultimately, though, your children may have to mount an aggressive defense to criminal charges to minimize the potential consequences of cyberbullying.